New investment in the global clean energy sector totalled US$67.9bn in Q4 2014, up 4pc on the same quarter in 2013 (US$65.2bn), according to new figures.
Online financial news and data service Clean Energy Pipeline said total investment for 2014 increased 12pc year-on-year to US$274.2bn, the highest annual investment volume since 2011.
“Last year the clean energy industry really demonstrated its resilience,” said Douglas Lloyd, CEO of Clean Energy Pipeline. “Despite a reduction in subsidies in Europe’s major renewable energy markets and very competitive natural gas prices in the US, investment in the global clean energy sector registered its first annual increase since 2011.”The figures reveal that clean energy project finance totalled US$47.4bn in Q4 2014, up 23pc on the US$38.5bn invested during the final quarter of 2013. This contributed to new investment reaching US$175bn in 2014, the highest annual investment volume recorded since 2011.
According to Clean Energy Pipeline, this growth was a direct result of a 15pc increase in investment in both Europe and Asia. In Europe, a large proportion of the increase was due to the financial close of the 300 MW Cestas project in France, which will be Europe’s largest solar PV plant when operational.
Investment in Q4 2014 was also boosted by a number of billion dollar utility balance sheet investments in European offshore wind farms. For example, Iberdrola began construction of the 350 MW Wikinger offshore wind farm representing an investment of US$1.7bn; Vattenfall and Stadtwerke München started work on the 288 MW Sandbank offshore wind farm representing a US$1.5bn investment; and DONG Energy started construction of the 258 MW extension of the existing 90 MW Burbo Bank offshore wind farm.
Clean energy companies raised US$1.6bn on the global public markets in Q4 2014 through a mixture of IPOs, secondaries and convertible note issuances, a decline of 73pc on the US$6bn secured during the corresponding period in 2013. Despite the annual decrease, public markets deal value posted a 13pc annual increase to US$16bn in 2014, the highest volume recorded since 2010.
Clean energy M&A activity totalled US$26.4bn in Q4 2014, more than double the US$11.7bn recorded in Q3 2014 and an 80pc increase on the US$14.7bn tracked during the corresponding period in 2013. The 292 M&A deals announced in Q4 2014 was 5pc more than the quarterly average number of announced deals (277) during the past three years.
And Q4 2014 was notable for a number of large acquisitions, Clean Energy Pipeline said. The top 10 deals accounted for 47pc (US$12.3bn) of total deal value in Q4 2014. The largest transaction was SunEdison and TerraForm Power’s acquisition of wind and solar power developer First Wind Holdings for US$2.4bn in November 2014.
Venture capital and private equity investment in clean energy (excluding buyouts) totalled US$1.5bn in Q4 2014, down 16pc on the US$1.8bn invested in the same period in 2013. Despite the yearly decline, annual investment in 2014 increased 3pc to US$7.1bn. Solar was the largest sector for investment in Q4 2014, accounting for 29pc of total investment.